With road accident fatality figures remaining stubbornly high, government has reintroduced the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme in an effort to curb the scourge.
After a yearlong break, government has reintroduced the programme that will see old and unroadworthy taxis being scrapped at sites across the nine provinces over five years. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula today unveiled the programme at a site in Germiston.
Anthus Service 84 will, on behalf of the Department of Transport, spearhead the operational management of the scrapping process and establish scrapping sites in all provinces.
Taxi owners will be compensated with R124 000 for each taxi demolished through the programme, an increase from the previous R91 100. The programme caters for taxis manufactured before 2007, with government aiming eliminate 135 894 such vehicles.
“In repackaging the scrapping administration, we have ensured that the taxi industry directly benefits from this process,” Mbalula said.
The objective of the programme was to ensure that vehicles used to ferry commuters meet safety standards.
“In enabling the effective phasing out of unsafe vehicles and enabling the introduction of vehicles that meet safety standards, government provides a capital subsidy in the form of a scrapping allowance. This allowance is only accessed by those who voluntarily surrender their vehicles that meet a pre-defined criteria to be scrapped,” the Minister said.
The programme was first launched in the late 90s, with an objective of addressing the underlying economic circumstances of the industry.
“While the industry committed to formalise its operations and subject itself to regulation, government committed to a package of economic assistance interventions. It is for that reason that the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme remains the flagship of successive ANC administrations and a demonstration of our commitment to uplifting the taxi industry,” said Mbalula.
The taxi industry is expected to own 60% of the new entity and the proceeds derived from the project to be channelled to a Taxi Development Trust. Mbalula said the department is currently engaging the SA National Taxi Council on the constitutional arrangements.
The department has already received 1 464 applications for scrapping of old taxi vehicles have been received and processed to date. The process of scrapping 1 000 illegally converted panel vans has begun, and this will be followed by scrapping the other vehicles whose applications for scrapping have been successful.
Mbalula said government remains committed to uplifting the taxi industry and is determined to create opportunities for the industry to grow.
“However, in doing so, the industry must deliver on its end of the bargain and ensure their members adhere to regulations and contribute to the country’s tax base like any corporate citizen. The special purpose vehicle responsible for managing the scrapping process must be registered for tax and must equally pay its dues.”